1 March 2002

BSEheredity No

A GOVERNMENT scientist who has carried out research into BSE has said he does not believe the disease can be passed from an infected cow to her calf.

In an announcement that infuriated the feed industry John Wilesmith from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency suggested that BSE cases in cattle born since the 1996 meat and bonemeal ban were due to contaminated feed imports rather than maternal transmission.

Prof Wilesmith has carried out experiments where embryos from cows with BSE were fertilised with semen from bulls with the disease and then put in surrogate cows.

But none of the calves or the surrogate mothers that carried them went on to develop BSE, he told the BBCs Farming Today programme. &#42

Prof Wilesmith believed we are still dealing with cross contamination but not from a British source but from ships importing into Britain."

But the director general of the Grain and Feed Trade Association, Pamela Kirby Johnson rebuffed the comments. "It is an easy shot to have a go at imports. We simply do not import this stuff and to suggest that there can be some kind of cross contamination in the hold of a ship is stretching credulity to its limits," she said.